Exams are no fun! For most of us, they never have been. But what choice do we have? That’s all we spend doing for a good deal of our student life. Truth is, when you’re in that student phase, it’s only later in life that you will realize the worth of all these exams. After all, haven’t we all heard what it means to have a degree? Don’t get me wrong, being book smart isn’t all that there is to life. Being street smart is just as essential if you’re looking for survival in the real world. The bookish temperament just makes you slightly more aware. GRE is merely one of those exams that takes you one step closer to that awareness as well as your degree.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE), an online exam which can be taken all over the country, is offered to students all through the year. The reason this exam is an important one is because it is a prerequisite at a lot of graduate and professional schools when you are looking to apply to either one of them. As a matter of fact, even applying for a scholarship program can often mean a requirement of GRE scores. Bottom line―GRE is an important test. In order to figure out the best way to study for GRE, you should begin by getting a slight idea regarding the GRE score scale. Once you have that figured out, everything else will seem a lot easier.
How to Prepare
First off, are you completely aware of the format of the test? If not, here it is. GRE is split in three sections to measure your skills. The first is analytical writing, the next is verbal reasoning, and the last is quantitative reasoning. The analytical section mainly evaluates you on abilities concerning your explanatory skills. Your essay must be clear enough to put forth your thoughts and ideas efficiently. The verbal reasoning section is mostly about comprehension skills. It checks your ability to analyze the given written material. Lastly, the quantitative reasoning section lays stress upon problem solving abilities pertaining to data analysis, algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. Now that you are conversant with the breakup, we can move on to the study process.
Study like you’re appearing for the exam at that very moment. The verbal section of this exam is further broken into antonyms, analogies, sentence completion, and reading comprehension. When studying for the antonyms, the first thing to bear in mind is that every word could have more than one meaning, in which case, you have to think of everything before jumping to mark an answer. E.g. A word like ‘distant’ could mean far apart, as well as reserved. Hence, it is of utmost importance that you fully understand the word as also the meaning of the options provided to you. A good technique though is to think of possible antonyms before you even look at the given choices. This is a surer way to achieve accuracy.
Following this section is the analogies. It could be said that this section requires a very logical mind. A good way to work around this section is by creating a common link between words given.
E.g. Triangle : Quadrilateral
- Cone : Cube
- Rectangle : Octagon
- Pentagon : Hexagon
Since this is an easy example, what according to you should the right answer be? The right answer is pentagon : hexagon. Reason being, the sequence followed in the number of sides these figures have. Since a triangle has 3 and a quadrilateral has 4, it’s only logical that the five- and six-sided figures should follow, especially since there is no real connection with the other options.
The next section to focus on is sentence completion. A great way to get through this section is by trying to fill in the blanks with words that seem to fit the context, even before you’ve taken a look at the suggested options. If that doesn’t seem like a helpful method for you to resort to, go ahead and look at the given choices, while mentally fixing each of them into the given sentence. The one that seems to fit correctly should be your answer. However, if for some reason you do not understand the meaning of a particular word, try combinations of prefixes or suffixes that seem like they fit. Hopefully this will help you out.
Finally, you get to the reading comprehension section. For this section, make sure you read the given passage/extract well. Mark key words or important words. These will act as a good reference guide when answering questions. Also make sure you read the questions only after you’ve read the passage. If you think you haven’t understood a certain question, skip it and get back to it later. Maybe answering other questions will give you hints for the one you are unsure about. Lastly, the most important part of this section is, not to assume! Do not base any answers on assumptions. All answers must be based on matter that is either clearly stated or implied in the given text.
Without a doubt, the verbal section is all about good vocabulary, so make sure you strengthen your vocabulary, if you’ve decided to give this exam a go.
The math section in GRE is split into Quantitative Comparisons, and the Standard Multiple Choice. When working on multiple choice questions, make sure not to spend too much time on the initial questions. They are easy and do not require much time. Work quick so as to have more time for the tougher problems. Use shortcuts when it comes to calculations. Detailed calculations aren’t a necessity if you know shortcuts. As for the quantitative comparisons, it’s quite like all that you learned in high school. The easy questions in this section are generally so easy that the answers will be apparent on a close look at the problem. Also, try not to spend time solving, instead learn to compare. It’s less time-consuming. Simplify both sides instead of comparing, and you’ll get to the solution without much agony.
All said and done, make sure you spend at least two months while preparing for GRE, and you’ll sail through just fine. All you got to do is put in sincere effort. So study hard, and do well. Good luck for your GRE attempt!